Etched in Stone’s first lady had her stone set recently with a bit of a ceremony, too. It was Sarah Crockett Ewing who first started the small monetary collection for the Etched In Stone Project, because without a doubt she was a Civil War Nurse, but since she was technically not enlisted in the army, she could not receive a government stone. Thus, the fund was started in order to get her one. The Young Monument Company in Ladoga accepted the task of designing a headstone to match her husband’s which was also gotten via the EIS Project. A beautiful marker, the 72nd one in the Etched In Stone project, Sarah now rests in peace just in time for the 4th of July. Donations have also purchased two others proven but questionable for government proof, Riley Newlin and Richard Quigg. If you would like to donate, please send checks made out to Kimberly Hancock to Oak Hill – marked for Etched In Stone Project in the memo.
Sarah Crockett Stearns was born in the deep south in Grainger County, Tennessee on the 4th day of the 4th month in 1826, the daughter of Jane Crockett and her husband, William Stearns. There is strong indication that Jane was the niece of Davy Crockett and even an article on Sarah Ewing stating such.
At the mere age of 18, Sarah met and married a handsome tailor a man who had attended West Point and was the nephew of an Ohio Senator. He was eight years her senior, but that never seemed to be a problem with them. She would follow him into the Civil War and nurse those in his unit, forever faithful to the cause. A highly skilled dressmaker, he was a tailor and this perhaps may have been what brought them together. Although no proof, it is wondered if she may have also assisted doctors in surgery. Definitely, she did Christian nursing during the Civil War.
Afterward, the Ewings lived in Crawfordsville, as well as Oxford, Ohio, Illinois and Cincinnati, always having a strong following of those interested in the sewing field. After his death, which occurred while he was travelling and in his hotel room (he penned goodby, goodby, I am choking to death all alone at midnight) on November 11th, 1881 in Belleville, Illinois. He went on to say that he was good with God.
Not long after his death, she received a widow’s allowance from his Civil War pension. Unlike many widows who had no skills, Sarah had many and went on to create a new tailoring system that was raved about by both men and women. An application was necessary to be able to use her system and then exclusive rights in the town or city was given to the applicant. Her name appears in multiple newspapers when various testimonies for the tailoring structure were given. The Tailor System by Mrs. Sarah C. Ewing is still available for purchase. She received a patent for this system in 1871, but most felt that her real accomplishment was creating institutions in larger cities to teach the system of cutting and tailoring. In 1896, at the age of 70 she was said to be beautiful and have thick brown hair with nary a gray one on her head. Perfectly dressed, she was quite the figure.
Sarah was said to have been a good Christian Soul and remained a widow for 26 years before she passed away in her home on Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis May 14th in 1907. She was returned to Montgomery County, one of their longest homes and where their two daughters, Laura Doherty and Mary Thompson lived out their lives, one passing prior to her mother and one but eight years later. The family is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery and now, both John Ewing and his beloved wife and our first female in Etched In Stone both rest in peace thanks to Kim Hancock and Suzi Petrey. Also want to thank Scott Young for matching the stones so nicely and Jeannie Walden who began the actual Etched In Stone fund that made the money available to mark #72, Sarah Stearns Ewing!

Over the coming weeks and months I will write these columns highlighting each new stone. Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. And she writes Around the County, which appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. One by One: Etched in Stone is her latest offering and will appear periodically on Mondays in The Paper.